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Many drivers may believe that, because Texas features so many straight, flat roads, tractor-trailer and tanker truck rollovers are not much of a problem. However, according to ATBS, straight roads are where more than half of all semitruck rollovers happen. Not only that, most of them happen in the daylight, on dry roads.

So if curves, darkness and inclement weather are not primary causes, what factors do lead to rollovers?

Problems with the truck

Truck drivers should perform an inspection of their vehicles at the beginning and end of each day. Trucking companies should also make sure that vehicles get regular maintenance and timely repairs. If there is a brake defect, someone should notice this before it causes a wreck, whether it is the operator, the mechanic or the company. However, brake defects were a factor in at least 54% of the incidents involved in a study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Load size

It may seem counterintuitive, but it is not the full loads that are most dangerous, particularly when it comes to tanker trucks. With room to move, sloshing loads can easily lead to a shifting center of gravity and a rollover. In fact, over 90% of tanker truck rollovers happen when the tank is less than full.

Partial loads can be just as dangerous in a tractor-trailer. Loading dock workers may be responsible if a trailer’s load is not secured properly and shifts in transit.

Driver error

Roughly 66% of the time, a rollover involves a driver who has been operating trucks for 10 years or more. Why are seasoned truckers more likely to be in a rollover?

AIG reports that distracted driving, speeding and fatigue are all behaviors that often lead drivers to make the critical errors that cause a rollover. Prescription and over-the-counter medications, illegal substance use and alcohol are also frequently factors in rollover accidents.